If you’d like to have your mini-comics reviewed by the Daily Cross Hatch, I’ve set up a PO Box in Minneapolis for that purpose. The box will become active on Saturday, September 1, 2007. Try not to send anything so soon that it will be returned to you by the Post Office. Do send treats and bribes. Don’t send illegal substances. Do send beautiful hand-made books. Don’t send chain mail. The Daily Crosshatch reserves the right to not review your materials. Please send us your best work. All mini-comics will be reviewed by me, Sarah Morean, but if you have a severe problem with that or secretly have a crush on Brian Heater, I can maybe forward something along at the expense of my deflating ego.
The Daily Crosshatch
PO Box 3629
Minneapolis, MN 55403-9998
Read on to get the latest comics news to break in the city of Minneapolis.
The Trial of Colonel Sweeto
By Nicholas Gurewitch
To suggest that Nicholas Gurewitch’s strip, Perry Bible Fellowship, is one of the most consistenly hilarious webcomics of all time is hardly hyperbole. In fact, such a statement seems downright conservative. The strip is, to my mind, an incredibly strong contendor for the funniest webcomic of all time. Reading PBF, on a regular basis, for some time now, I’m hard-pressed to recall an instance where I didn’t find myself, at the very least, silent chortling at a punchline.
In spite of the name, which sardonically implies short bursts of coherent narrative structure, The Trail of Colonel Sweeto is more of a ‘greatest hits’ of PBF strips. There’s a single paragraph intro by underground comics’ genius in residence, Jim Woodring, and handful of deleted strips with short justifications for their exclusion by Gurewitch, but otherwise the book maintains a two strip per page format throughout the collection. It’s likely for the better—one suspects that if Gurewitch were to meddle with his delicate formula for coherent absurdity, things might begin to fall apart.
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Despite having one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the industry, Peter Kuper has remained something of a chameleon, fully submerging himself in every diverse project he takes on, from his early days as one of the founding members of the counter-culture-defining rag, World War III Illustrated, to his hallucinogenic paintings, to the fittingly dark adaptations of Kafka’s oeuvre—and then, of course, there’s the fact that, if you happen to have picked up an issue of Mad Magazine in the past decade, you’ve encountered faithful continuation of Antonio Prohías’s timeless strip, Spy vs. Spy.
Kuper’s latest work, the 12-years-in-the-making graphic novel, Stop Forgetting to Remember, is easily among Kuper’s most revealing works, mapping much of the author’s life through rather thinly-veiled autobiography. The work follows Kuper’s alter-ego, Walter Kurtz, from a sexually-awkward suburban adolescence (is there any other kind?) to his more contemporary struggle to bring his daughter up right in a post 9-11 New York.
We asked Kuper to spill the dirt on this Kurtz character, and he was more than happy to oblige.
An Inside Job #1-3
Thoughtful people ask ‘What builds the dreams of men?’ I don’t know and I can’t say that An Inside Job helped me to understand. But if the question was ‘What are the dreams of men?’ I think I’ve got a pretty complete answer now that I’ve read issues 1-3 of Eli Bishop’s minicomic series.
Erratic, angry, adventurous, mysterious and sexual, those are the dreams Eli Bishop AKA Hob writes about in An Inside Job. Apparently those are the issues he tackles at night while asleep. Somehow he’s been able to recall impressive chunks of dreamy thought, almost as true memories, to write out in his comics.
Okay, so we spent a chunk of the second part of the interview railing on Disney, but very few people in world of indie comics are as unique qualified to log such complaints as Renee French. You see, while her work for publishers like Top Shelf and Fantagraphics is perhaps among some of the darkest—or at the very least, most ominous—in the medium, French also moonlights as Rainy Dohaney, the author of such books Tinka and My Best Sweet Potato, following the adventures of a tiny yellow sheep and a little girl and her doll, respectively.
Her adult work, meanwhile, oft focuses on far less kid-friendly (if every bit as kid-relevant) themes of deformity and alienation. Naturally, we had to get her take on the current state of children’s entertainment in the United States.
I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!
By Fletcher Hanks (Ed. And Afterwod by Paul Karasik)
It should naturally be taken as something of a sign of good faith when a the back of book contains recommendations from a creative power trio like Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Crumb, and Gary Panter. One ought also to assume that the work contained therein will likely deviate significantly from the norm. Crumb and Panter’s quotes, while unquestionably strong arguments for picking up the book, speak to little beyond the strangeness of the material (a subject on which academics could undoubtedly release volume after volume).
Vonnegut, on the other hand, who writes, “[t]he recovery from oblivion of these treasures is in itself a major work of art,” speaks more immediately to what makes I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! such a worthy volume. It’s not simply a showcase of some ‘twisted dude’s’ (Crumb’s words) work, it’s an exercise in the acknowledgment of what separates the great outsider art from the downright forgettable.
When we read—as no doubt many of you did—in Boing Boing a couple of weeks ago, that Ivan Brunetti, one of alternative comics’ most talented degenerates was a contender for a spot as a replacement artist for Ernie Bushmiller’s long-running and much-loved strip, Nancy, we couldn’t help but attempt to get the back story from the artist, himself.
Sure Brunetti has demonstrated an ability to shift styles with an ease and precision matched only by a small handful of greats like Crumb and Clowes. And yes, he has, on occasion, demonstrated an affinity for the sentimentality of classic strips, with stories like “Wither Shermy?” penned shortly after the death of Charles Schulz, but the artist’s flagship title, Schizo, is more often than not a bastion of self-loathing and anti-everything rants.
We sent a message to Brunetti, asking, in a word: whaaaaa? The artist’s incredibly in-depth, and characteristically excruciating response is reprinted, after the jump.
Oh, and if you have a second, please some encouraging comments. Thanks.